8.6 C
New York
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Home Canadian News Fake cops doing traffic stops in southwestern Ontario, police warn

Fake cops doing traffic stops in southwestern Ontario, police warn


People in southwestern Ontario are posing as officers and making fake vehicle stops, police say. Now, the real police are releasing sketches of two suspects and say those concerned about an officer’s legitimacy should ask for badge numbers and can even call 911 to verify an officer’s identity. 

“Any situation where a member of the public impersonates a police officer is a serious offence as well as a concern for public safety,” said County of Wellington OPP Const. Cheri Rockefeller.

Incidents have been reported in Wellington County, Essex County and Saugeen Shores, all with a similar approach.

Police say suspects are driving cars or trucks outfitted with flashing lights and other police paraphernalia, and the driver may be wearing clothes that look like a police uniform.

The suspects have allegedly used the props to make fake vehicle stops, in some cases asking drivers to prove whether or not they are essential workers, police say.

“At this moment we are not stopping people checking for essential worker status,” Rockefeller said.

One person has been arrested in Wellington County and one in Saugeen Shores, but police are still looking for two others. At this time, provincial police say they don’t believe the incidents are connected.

Under the Criminal Code, impersonating a police officer can lead to a prison term of up to five years.

Police in Saugeen Shores say they arrested a man driving a black 2016 Ford F150 pickup truck outfitted with police lights. (Saugeen Shores Police Service)

Crime of opportunity

An American expert in police impersonation says similar incidents have occurred in her area in recent weeks. Local media in Denver reported at least six incidents of police impersonation in the last two weeks of March.

Police impersonation is a crime of opportunity, says Mary Dodge, who researches crime at the University of Colorado in Denver. During quarantine, she says, criminals may think authorities are tied up with other issues and are more likely to let slide smaller offences such as police impersonation.

“It’s the idea that … if we have a lack of capable guardians, no one’s going to catch these police impersonators. And there are targets everywhere, so why not go ahead and do this?” said Dodge, a professor in the university’s school of public affairs.

The internet also makes it relatively easy for criminals to find fake police badges, holsters and even strobe lights online, she says.

For people who don’t often interact with police, she says, it can be difficult to tell the difference between real and bogus police gear, especially late at night.

“People will not react thinking clearly when we see a police officer and flashing lights behind us,” said Dodge. “I’m not going to think, ‘Is this a legitimate officer, is it someone I can trust?’ You’re just going to pull over.”

Dodge says more public education is needed so that people understand what information they can expect from police. She said police services also need to be sure they’re educating their own members about what information the public has a right to ask for.

“I guess I could boil [the solution] down to education for everyone,” she said.

Dodge, who is in the process of a second study into police impersonation, said more widespread data about the nature and the frequency would also be useful for policy-makers.



Source link

Today news
Today News 1 runs four of the western GTA’s most influential media websites, offering news, food, lifestyle and entertainment coverage for millions to the Golden Horseshoe and GTA regions. The independently-run, online news source was founded in 2019 and specializes in everything from breaking news to food and restaurant, arts and entertainment and lifestyle coverage.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Bell Island’s got an explosive problem — and these military divers are back to defuse it

Military divers have returned to Newfoundland waters to finish a job that began two years ago: removing ammunition and explosives from vessels sunk during...

The invisible reasons mosquitoes prefer some people over others

Bad news for fans of having a beer while out on a hike or camping trip.  That tasty alcohol? Mosquitoes seem to...

Montreal conservationists work to save vanishing Monarch butterflies from extinction

At his home on Montreal's south shore, Roger Giraldeau makes his way to his nursery. Opening the door, he delicately lifts up...

Parks Canada takes steps to protect rare flower found only in N.W.T. park reserve

Not much is known about the Nahanni aster, but the flower has become a species of special interest to flora aficionados.  The plant...

Recent Comments